All About Residuary Clauses

It can be difficult to meticulously catalog and address every possession in your will or trust. However, incorporating a thorough review process, seeking professional guidance, and including a residuary clause can help mitigate the likelihood of oversight. These strategies guarantee a more comprehensive and effective estate planning strategy. Let’s take a closer look at residuary clauses: 

Residuary Clauses

What Is a Residuary Clause?

A residuary clause in a will or trust specifies what should happen to any property not addressed in the documents or assigned to a beneficiary. It serves as a catch-all provision, outlining the beneficiaries and their respective shares in the residue of the estate or trust. This clause becomes essential in solidifying that any assets not mentioned in other parts of the document are still distributed according to the testator’s intentions. Residuary clauses provide clarity and prevent unintended consequences in estate distribution.

Examples of Residuary Clause Wording

“I give, devise, and bequeath all the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, real and personal, of whatever nature and wherever situated, to [Name of Beneficiary], if they survive me. If [Name of Beneficiary] does not survive me, I give, devise, and bequeath the residue to [Name of Contingent Beneficiary]. If neither [Name of Beneficiary] nor [Name of Contingent Beneficiary] survives me, the residue shall be donated to [Charity Name].”

What Happens Without a Residuary Clause?

The absence of a residuary clause in your estate plan could introduce complications to the probate or trust administration process, potentially placing an undue burden on loved ones. Any assets that have not been specifically left to someone may be subject to distribution according to state laws, leading to outcomes that may not align with your wishes. For example, money or property could go to individuals you did not have in mind when planning your estate. Ultimately, a residuary clause guarantees that everything you own finds its way to the individuals or charities of your choosing. Therefore, residuary clauses safeguard your estate.

Situations That Require a Residuary Clause

  • Not all accounts or wealth is in the will or trust.
  • Personal property of little value, such as clothing, was not included.
  • Acquisition of new wealth without updating the estate plan.
  • Incomplete beneficiary designations.
  • The primary beneficiary cannot receive their inheritance, and alternate beneficiaries were not established. 

Working With Law Stein Anderson

Nobody wants to burden their grieving family with confusion and disappointment after their passing. Well-crafted estate plans provide clear instructions for a seamless administration process. Estate planning attorneys possess the expertise to create meticulous legal documents that prevent complications during probate and trust administration. Undoubtedly, collaborating with Law Stein Anderson’s team instills confidence that every facet of your estate is thoughtfully considered; schedule your complimentary consultation today.